Lifetime return policy? – That's the rules

Even IKEA creates unlimited right of return: What guarantees, warranties and exchange rights you have on purchases in commerce and on the Internet

Image result for ikea right to returnThe well-known Swedish furniture store was one of the few large companies that have promoted a “lifelong return policy”. Two years ago, the company promised customers that they could return purchased goods for a lifetime – recently the company took a step back: since September 1, customers have only a one-year right of return.


For the furniture store, the press echo was not very pleasing – there was talk of a backlash, the right of return was just a marketing gimmick. What many overlook, however:

Even a one-year right of return is still an above-average offer. Stationary trading businesses are not obliged to take back goods that the customer does not like. There is no right to exchange when buying in a shop if the goods are faultless. Only if it is faulty or defective, the dealer must repair or refund the purchase price, if the repair is not possible.

However, many merchants are willing to trade goods in the fight for the customer, and even advertise, for example, with the easy exchange, such as in the Christmas business, so that gifts can be exchanged after the festival.

Pampered by online trading

Many people do not know that the return in shops is only voluntary, because they are spoiled by the online purchase. Here is the 14-day right of withdrawal. Within two weeks of receipt, the goods can be returned without giving any reason. The seller must then refund the purchase price.

In addition, traders who sell their goods in the business, just not obliged. If you give in a right of return or a “guarantee”, this is a voluntary measure that the customer can not insist on. So if you buy in the business, you should know the most important legal rules:

  • Warranty: Each commercial dealer is obliged to give new goods 24 months warranty. For second-hand goods 12 months. In other words: If a defect occurs that the product had before purchase, the dealer must repair the goods or repair them otherwise. If the dealer suspects that the goods were in order during the sale and defects were caused by errors or incorrect operation of the customer, within the first six months after purchase: The dealer must prove that the customer is to blame. After six months, the burden of proof turns around: If a defect then occurs, the customer must prove that the product was already defective at the time of purchase. Such evidence is always difficult to guide. Therefore, customers often have to rely on the goodwill of the trader.
  • Guarantees: Many manufacturers also provide their own warranties – a well-known producer of storage cans even for 30 years. However, there are no regulations on such guarantees. These are always voluntary benefits. Here everyone should read the fine print when buying. If the manufacturer does not provide any information about its own warranties, only the warranty applies.